Former European and British bantamweight champion Noel Wilders has been chosen to oppose Dubliner Bernard Dunne at the National Stadium on Saturday, January 28.
Wilders, who turned 31 last week, had been scheduled to meet Dunne for the vacant IBC super-bantamweight title last October, but the Yorkshire man was forced to pull out at short notice.
Dunne beat replacement fighter Sean Hughes in just two rounds, but Wilders, who beat Fabien Guillerme on French soil for the European belt in 2003, is promising to test the Irishman's 18-fight unbeaten record to the limit.
Wilders' manager Michael Marsden said: "Noel took some time to think about his future after he pulled out of the fight with Bernard. He was a bit fed up with the sport I think but he’s gone away, thought about it and decided he really wants a shot at Michael Hunter’s titles.”
Hunter, a near neighbour of Wilder's, edged Esham Pickering on points for the British, Commonwealth and European (EBU) titles in October.
Marsden added: "Noel knows a win over Bernard will put him right back in contention to win another European title so he’s really up for the fight this time. He’s trained all through Christmas and the New Year and I think the break from the gym has done him good.”
Brian Peters, Dunne's promoter, said: “I’m delighted that Wilders has accepted the fight because I know Bernard was very disappointed when the fight fell through in October. Bernard wants to test himself and improve with every fight and there’s no doubting Wilders is a very stiff test.
"He has some very good wins on his record over former World title challengers like Francis Ampofo and Paul Lloyd so he’s definitely another step up for Bernard.”
The Dunne-Wilders fight headlines an exciting night of boxing at the Stadium. Longford-born Michael Gomez returns to his homeland to take on Peter McDonagh for the Irish Lightweight title.
Belfast middleweight Brian Magee, who was added to the bill last week, will go toe-to-toe with Belarussian youngster Daniil Prakapsou to warm-up for his March clash with British and Commonwealth super middleweight champion Carl Froch.
Dublin heavyweight Colin Kenna, brother of former Republic of Ireland soccer international Jeff, squares off against Derby-born Like Simpkin, while Belfast super featherweight Kevin O'Hara challenges Lichfield fighter Steve Chinnock.